Sunday, November 29, 2015

My calendar is still on November.

It's Sunday evening of Thanksgiving weekend.  The end of a four day holiday.   For those who know me well, you know that I have trouble this time of year....  because the days get crazy with activities, and holidays run together for most people.   But, I like to keep my celebrations separate.  One holiday at a time.   So, note I said - it's still Thanksgiving weekend.   It's still November.

Yes. Today IS the first day of the Advent season, and I have written about this period of time before.  On the calendar it covers the 4 Sundays before Christmas Day, (and the days during those weeks).  For many Christians it is the start of a new church year and the time to prepare for Christ arriving as a little baby in Bethlehem.

So, yesterday I took some time and I put away my fall decorations: the ceramic pumpkins I have, a few baskets, a scarecrow, some artificial autumn leaves. 

Today the house is quiet...and there is not a decoration up for Christmas yet.  (Well...except, my husband and I carried the artificial tree from our storage area to the front porch.   It's there. )  I will take my time and decorate the outside tree, and I will put up other Christmas lights outdoors.  Each year I like to do something different.  So, I'm thinking about what I will do this year.

Indoors, no Christmas decorations are up yet.   Hubby and I will soon put up the tree... but I plan to wait until December.  I know people think I'm weird about it.   But, I find that if I put everything up too early the "magic" of the lights and the  pretty colors lose something by Christmas Day.  Plus, the Christmas season is 12 days long (remember...the song?  "On the First Day of Christmas my true love gave to me..."?) and it STARTS on Christmas Day.  It continues until January 6th.

So, I take my time, and I fight the ways of society to decorate BEFORE Thanksgiving... and I try not to rush any of it.  It's hard.  It seems few people like to "wait"....   but, that is what Advent is all about.  Waiting.  Preparing. Being patient. 

It's how I do it.  It's how I keep it together.  I take these days to address Christmas cards, to buy presents and then wrap them, to decorate...  to prepare the home.   To prepare my mind.  To enjoy the music of the season.  To breathe it all in. 

The years are going by pretty fast.  I really don't like rushing them along.   One holiday at a time - thank you very much,

Welcome to Advent.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Wishful thinking...

I'm heading out early tomorrow morning so I won't get this week's Hodgepodge on Joyce's page for sharing with other Hodgepodgers, but I like the questions and will share on Facebook.

1.  What's something you wish you knew how to do but feel it's too late to learn? 

Play the guitar.  I just don't have the patience (and tough fingers) but I wish I could "instantly" know how to play the guitar.  I admire those who can play, and also sing along.  Some of my favorite times are when I can sit and listen to someone who can entertain, and move me, with their voice and guitar. I admire that talent!

2.  Your least favorite thing to shop for? 

For myself:  it would be shoes.  I have big feet (I"m 5'9" so I get that I don't have dainty tiny feet - but  I don't like it anyway.)  I hate seeing cute shoes on display in stores in a size 6 - and then when I ask to see them in a 10....they look totally different!!  Clunky. Heavy. Yucky.  Also, because I am tall I do not like shoes with much of a heel.  I don't want to be taller than I am.  So, that limits my buying options.  It's not fun.

Pants & jeans are my 2nd worst thing to shop for - for the same reason.  I have to get "long" cuts and that limits my choices.

3.  How has the celebration of Thanksgiving today changed from when you were growing up? 

I don't recall big celebrations in our home at Thanksgiving, although I'm sure we always had a nice dinner - with a turkey and all the trimmings.  Christmas was the time we would get together with relatives, and go hang out at Grandma & Grandpa's house.   

As an adult each year Thanksgiving is different - sometimes I travel to family in Ohio, and last year I went to my daughter's place...  and I have stayed at home too.  When I lived out West we had a "Friends-giving" with others who could not be with family members due to distance.   So, I have celebrated many ways... and all have been good.

4.  What's something that when other people see it, it reminds them of you?  Explain.  

This is a toughie.  I suppose when people see pugs they think of me because I have two pug dogs (that are my babies!!)  I get things on Facebook from friends that have anything to do with pugs!   I guess also when people see something about country music they think of me!  They know I am a big fan and love to go to lots of live concerts.

5.  If you could guest star in a TV show, what would it be and why? 

I have been fortunate to sit in the audience of some talk shows.  When I lived about an hour outside of NYC I went with girlfriends to a few shows... including The View, and Live with Regis and Kelly. Years ago we went to Maury too.   But to star in??    A tough question.  I love Jeopardy but would be worried I'd not buzz in on any answers fast enough!  Embarrassing!!

How about... I would like to guess star in "Southern Charm" because it's filmed down the road in Charleston and the people on it are such "characters"!!  They would be fun to meet - and I'd love to go to their "in" spots in the Holy City.

6.  Have you ever farmed or spent time on a farm? Are there farm stands in your little corner of the world - and do you make a point to shop there?  If so, what item do you particularly like to buy from a roadside stand or farm shop? 

I have never lived on a farm.  And, I really haven't spent much time at all on a farm.  It would be enlightening to do it!      Yes, we do have produce stands all over around here.  We have many in the summer that have fresh corn, watermelon, tomatoes, etc.   I should stop and shop at them, but I really don't.    If I did... I would get fresh corn!  We also have fresh shrimp sold on corners here, because we are near the ocean and the shrimpers come in and sell to tourists and local residents.

7.  What's something you've experienced lately that made you feel a sense of awe or wonder? 

Just this past Sunday I played handbells with a group at our local Methodist church (I am Lutheran but help out the ringers at both churches.)  The Methodist choir is large and wonderful!  This past Sunday they sang a piece that gave me goosebumps!  It was beautiful!!!   I then went over to my church and heard my girlfriend sing a beautiful solo during our service.  Again, beautiful - and I was proud of her!   I was "awed" twice last Sunday morning!!

8. My random thought. 

It's just before Thanksgiving, so my thought is that I hope everyone has a safe next couple of days and that the terrorists decide to leave us alone.  May we all be free to celebrate, and to give thanks... and be free of worry!

I also hope for a miracle that the South Carolina Gamecocks can beat their in-state rivals Clemson this Saturday. It's the annual BIG game, and the Gamecocks have won 5 years in a row... and this is REALLY Clemson's season. They are strong and will most likely walk all over Carolina.   I'd love to be able to watch an interesting game... with a close score.  But I doubt it will happen.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!!! 


Tuesday, November 17, 2015

New words, old songs, things to be thankful for, and gravy on top!

It's the Hodgepodge questions - and I noted that although we have 7 listed, within each is quite a bit more to answer.  This could get lengthy!

1.  What's surprised you most about your life, or about life in general? 

Personally I think what has surprised me is the joy I feel outside around nature.  Growing up I never really thought about it much, and paused to find enjoyment being outdoors.  When I was a kid we used to camp as a family and it's been a running joke about "surviving" those times.   Don't get me wrong, I do not want to camp now - I want a soft bed and modern bathrooms - but now I love a beautiful sunny day and fresh air.   I guess these are things I took for granted as a young person.

Life in general?  It amazes me how all our brains can work so differently.  We are ALL made alike, but we each have unique individual brains in the head... and we have such different thoughts, beliefs, and feelings.  Get 4 people in a room and 2 will believe one way, 2 the other.  It's good - and it's bad.  It brings on brainstorming and progress, many wonderful things - but it also creates friction and incohesive-ness.  As a kid I lived in a small world with "people like me" but as an adult I know the world is so HUGE with endless differences.  We MUST accept differences!

2.  Among others, these ten words were added to the Oxford English Dictionary this year...   awesomesauce,  beer o'clock, brain fart, buttdial, cat cafe, fatberg, fatshame, hangry, MX (gender neutral), and skippable. 

Your thoughts?  Which word do you find ridiculous?  Which word would you never in a million years say out loud?  Which word would you most likely use in conversation? 

So, yes, I had to look up a couple of them.  And... hey, they are not all single words.  They are phrases.  But,  anyway, I find the most ridiculous one is awesomesauce.  It reminds of that silly commercial...the two sisters on the phone.  Sad that I can't think of what product is being advertised. But you know the one sister says it - and it's annoying!

Which would I never in a million years use?   beer o'clock.   Why?   Cuz I'm a wine girl!!   haha

Which would I most likely use in conversation?   Skippable.  Actually I thought it was already a word!  And buttdial - I have already used that word! It happens to me!

3.  Do you like gravy?  Is there a food you'd rather not eat unless it comes with gravy?  Do you make your own or buy the canned or store-made variety?  Turkey and gravy,  sausage gravy,  mashed potatoes and gravy, country ham and red eye gravy, biscuits and chocolate gravy, pot roast and gravy...  which one on the list is your favorite?  

Do I like gravy?  YES!    I probably would not eat turkey and dressing without it.   Mashed potatoes is also definitely better with gravy on them.

I do not make gravy (remember, I do not spend time cooking.)  I have bought the jarred types of gravy before. It does fine.  But I rarely buy/use it.     And, of the variety listed above, my favorite is mashed potatoes and gravy.  Do you remember as a kid making a little bowl in the middle of the potatoes to pour the gravy in?  Now I think that's considered not classy. But it was fun.

4.  Do you have a plan?   Do you need a plan?  Have you ever had a plan fall into a trillion pieces. Explain. 

A plan?  I think our leader Joyce is asking if we have a life plan.   When I was younger I certainly did.  And, I am happy to say that although the path has not always been straight, my life has gone as I had hoped.

I think it is certainly helpful for young people (teens, young adults) to have a plan... for some direction on choices they make with school, careers, families, etc.

Thankfully I have not had a plan totally fall apart and have not felt the need to go back to "step one."  I know people who have had to do it.  I know it can be tough.  Faith, persistence, and patience are important if it happens.

5.  November 19th is National Play Monopoly Day.   Do you have the original or some version of the game?  Do you enjoy playing Monopoly?  How likely is it you'll play a game of Monopoly on November 19th?   Ever been to Atlantic City?  Ever taken a ride on a railroad?  Is parking free in your town?  Last thing you took a chance on? 

Yes, we own the original board game of Monopoly....AND we have a "Wine-opoly" game set too.  (Back to #2 - I like my wine!!)   And, yes, I enjoy playing it... but it requires a large chunk of time to play it.  We used to play on vacations.  We would play and leave out the board - and then keep the game going all week.

I can say with certainty that I will not be playing Monopoly on it's national day.

I have been to Atlantic City a few times.  It's worth a visit.  It is not all that great though.   And yes, I have been on a railroad.  Many years ago I took Amtrak from Baltimore to Miami and back.  I have been on railroads at amusement parks - and subway cars in large cities and airports!   Yes, parking is free in my town.

Last thing I took a chance on?   Well, I guess it's with some of my music ventures.  I am an average flute player but I get asked occasionally to play for events, with pieces out of my comfort zone. I just got asked this morning if I'd play at the local Methodist church on a piece - and it's for the same Sunday I will be there playing handbells.  So, how could I say no?

6.  A song you like that has the word (or some form of the word) thanks in the title, lyrics, or meaning? 

In my twenties I loved all of John Denver's music... so I have to go with "Thank God I'm a Country Boy."

I also love Keith Urban's song called "Thank you"... a song he wrote to Nicole Kidman.  Very sweet and romantic.

7.  What is something you're taking for granted that when you stop and think about it, you're grateful for? 

Oh my... there is so much!   I am grateful for my health, my hubby, my daughters, my family, friends, my pets, where I live, for nature, and for music.  I try and stop each day and thank God for all this in my life.

Right now as we all are stunned after another ISIS day of terror, I am thankful for first responders, and for people who continue to love when there is so much hate.  It's sometimes easier to hate and think it should be an eye for an eye.  I'm thankful for people with cool heads and warm hearts.

8.   My random thought. 

Winter is around the corner.  It's still lovely here in South Carolina.  Today is sunny and in the upper 60's. Tomorrow will hit the 70's.  I think the weekend will get cooler - but not cold.  I am wondering how many of you look forward to winter?   Have you had your first snow yet?  I saw on the National News this morning that places out west are seeing it.  Stay safe if traveling!  Have a great week!

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Veterans, flu shots, early Christmas decorations

Welcome to this week's Hodgepodge of questions - and my answers.   For what it's worth - read on!

1.  In two or three sentences tell us what Veteran's Day means to you? 

Despite what political agendas may bring our country to war, and what the reasons are that the US  decides to go into battle, I admire the men and women who have stepped forward and enlisted in military service.   Most go into it with a true honorable belief that they want to serve and protect this country.   Veterans experience things we can never imagine.   War is scary.  They deserve our thanks  and our respect.  Veteran's Day is the day to thank a living military person.  

If you reading this and are a vet, THANK YOU!!

2.  What's your favorite film with a patriotic theme woven into the storyline? 

Patriotic doesn't have to mean a war movie, right?  I do not like to watch any war movies.  When I was younger I watched "Born on the 4th of July" and "Private Ryan" and a few of those.  But, they are too upsetting.  I worry that many of the war movies "glorify" the experience.

So, I guess I will say "The Patriot" because it is such a history lesson - and I love that so many scenes were filmed down the road in Charleston.  

3.  Flu shots - yes or no?   If you answered no, do you plan to get a flu shot?  If not, why not?  Have you ever had a flue shot? 

I have only gotten a flu shot once that I can recall.  I do not work in a hospital, or daycare, or office environment where it is mandatory.  Thankfully I do not have a health condition where a doctor feels the flu shot is of great importance for me.   I have heard so many "rumors" about them not being the right concoction each year, or if you get it too early it won't last all winter... or too late is, well, too late.  

I was in a CVS a couple of hours ago and saw the signs - and saw three people waiting in line to get the shots.  At that time I didn't want to wait and I really wasn't sure if I wanted to get it or not.

The flu is not fun to have - for sure.  So, maybe I'll wander back in to CVS at an off time and try to get my shot. Guess it won't hurt me any.

4.  I've seen lots of people posting pictures of their Christmas trees up and decorated.  Many stores have had Christmas on display since well before Halloween. Red cups are back at Starbuck's, sans the holiday decor, and that has some people up in arms.  What are your thoughts on all the holiday ruckus this second week of November? 

Every year the decorations go up too early.   Every year!  Too early!!   I know it will not change but I really wish that we kept the start of the Christmas season to Advent - which is the start of the church year, and the time of preparation for the baby Jesus's birth.   We will never return to it but I wish it were so.  I'm usually tired and over with Christmas on December 26th.  Too much too early.

As for the red cup hoopla...I think a couple of comments have exploded into this whole social media thing.  It's really rather silly.   Get over it people.

5.  What 'critter' are you most afraid of encountering unexpectedly?  Why that one? 

I have said it before: snakes are my biggest worry/fear living here.  They are definitely around. I have marshland right behind me.  Snakes occasionally show up in my yard - and I have 3 kitty cats I keep outdoors AND I place moth balls around my house foundation.  Occasionally I see one - and I can not ever be sure if they are poisonous or not. People say you can tell by their markings or the kind of eyes they have.  Well, I freak - and can't stop and "analyze" it.    I have a BIG fear of snakes!!   Always have.  I remember in high school when we had an assembly and a guy brought reptiles and snakes to show....and he carried a huge snake up into the bleachers where the students were sitting.  I was petrified.  It was horrible.  

6.  Do you like building things?  What's the last thing you built? 

Our leader Joyce is in the building process right now - and therefore, the question!   Hubby and I have bought two homes in the past that were new "spec homes" and needed finishing off, so we picked flooring, bathroom fixtures, etc.    Right now he decided to knock down our carport at our "riva cabin" and put up a garage - and while at it, an apartment above it.   I have left it in his hands unless he specifically asks me.   The project, like most building projects do, has grown - and there are so many choices to make.  

I'm at a point in my life now where I let things slide... and I know it will be fine. Whatever he picks.  I like to decorate - and may try to step in more when we get to that point.

7.  What are you most grateful for that brings beauty to daily life? 

My back view - off the kitchen/master bedroom/Carolina room. We back up to old ricefields that are now marshy - and therefore it's natural and beautiful.  We have spanish moss hanging, live oaks, cypress trees - a real Southern view - and I love it.

8. My random thought. 

I love the new Tim McGraw song.  Have you heard "Humble and Kind"?

We all just need to be...humble and kind!



Monday, November 9, 2015

Rainy days and Mondays....

Rainy days and Mondays....  

As the song goes they can get me down.  Today is one of those days and I'm thinking it's a good one to sit and blog and try to wrap my brain around what's good and what's not-so-good this time of year.

* It's a good "stay in my sweats" day and I can do some organizing, cleaning, throwing out...   stuff. Got too much stuff.

* It's a great day to crank some music!

* It's a lousy day for the dogs because they won't go out and do their business.   Yes, we have pee pads down for just this sort of day!    I miss taking them on a walk - because it's good for all of us!  I like to look at nature, to enjoy fresh air, and so do the pugs.

* I can on-line shop.  I'm thinking about Christmas presents.  Christmas cards. Can you believe it's not very far away?

*  I have been trying to think of a good Christmas craft to do - and share.  Maybe today I will get inspired and start one.  My Pinterest craft page has so many ideas that I have pinned!  Oh - I think some wine corks just might be involved. 

* I can practice my flute.  (I wrote that for Carson - just in case he secretly reads my blog.)

*  I can pray.   As our church goes through so many changes right now, I think extra prayer is needed to keep the faith, to keep up enthusiasm, and to keep moving forward.

*  I can exercise.   Ugh.   My treadmill has a mind of its own and changes speeds without me touching anything now.  I have had it for many years but I  think it's almost time to junk it.   Still, I can do SOMETHING!

* I will read!  I'm halfway through a wonderful book.  "Ordinary Grace" by William Kent Krueger.  

So no excuses.  What is it about putting something down on paper (or in this case, typing it on to a screen?)   I am a visual person... I need to SEE a list, than tackle it, line by line.  

Rainy day and Monday - It's not going to let you get me down!  

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

It's November now. Are you grateful?

It's a rainy day here, so it's a perfect time to sit at my computer and answer today's Hodgepodge questions. Many of them this time are about the month of November and about being grateful.   So - I am grateful it is raining and NOT snowing where I am as we start this new month.  I am grateful for other things too.   Want to know more?  Read on.

1.  Besides Thanksgiving, something you are looking forward to on your November calendar? 

November is not my favorite month as it really seems like the start of things I don't particularly like...   colder weather, grey skies, too much worrying about the holidays, too many expectations, lots of expenses, fear of disappointing, just a really long spell of time until spring arrives. 

As I think of my calendar for this month I think I look forward to things that have to do with music and with football.  I have a bunch of rehearsals scheduled this month as both the community band, and the two handbell groups I am in, prepare for Christmastime.   I enjoy the rehearsals.   And, I love football on the weekends.  I know it sounds weird but there is something comforting about watching games, maybe it's because I get myself comfy on the couch, and relax. I also enjoy the "football talk" among some of my friends.  

2.  If I gave you a thank you card right now who would you send it to and why? 

I wrote one yesterday and mailed it to thank our hosts for the Halloween dinner we attended. We had a fun time dressing up and we had fabulous food!

Today?  I think I would/should write one to my hubby.  In this rain he is off and traveling (flying) to upstate New York for business.  He really doesn't complain much about any of his travels and having to deal with weather changes,  the annoying people, and all the hassles of going somewhere by airplane.  He certainly handles it much better than I ever could. 

3.  Of the breads listed, which one's your favorite...  bagel, cinnamon, sourdough, garlic, banana, biscuit, pita, Naan, or plain old fashioned white bread? 

Well, I had to look up Naan bread. It is Indian flatbread.   Of the ones listed, I think my favorite is warm, buttery, garlic bread!   But, the question is a bit confusing because bagels and biscuits come in many flavors.  I certainly like a warm cinnamon bagel slathered with cream cheese too!

4.  What's something you have in abundance?   Is that a good thing?  

Plenty of love baby!!!      But, if our leader Joyce is asking about a "thing" I guess I will say I have an abundance of everything!  Too much!  I half-joking/half-seriously say to hubby that he better not die first and leave me with all this stuff and then I have to figure out what to do with it all!     You know, you can't take it with you!!

5.  November 5th is National Love your Red Hair Day.   (Who knew?) Are there any redheads in your family?  Who's your favorite redhead?  

Natural redheads in my family?  I don't think so.  A few of the women have been redheads at times, but only there hairdresser really knows for sure?!

My favorite redhead?    I think many will answer Lucille Ball and Carol Burnett.   They are two names that come to my mind quickly.  There is a country music singer Eric Pasley that is a red head.  And of course, there is the comedian Carrot Top!

6.  The travel website BusBud recently calculated the most Instagrammed spot in every state.  Are you happy with your state's #1?  (Check out   If not, what do you think is the most photographed spot in your state?  Have you snapped a photo there?

South Carolina's place listed "most instagrammed" with photos is Myrtle Beach.  First, that's a pretty broad answer.   I noticed some of the other states had more specific locations... like a ball park, or a zoo.    In terms of state beauty, I will certainly disagree.  I think there are many places in Charleston that are certainly more photogenic.  Lots of people snap a pic of the Ravenal Bridge there too.  And even William Brice Stadium (home of the Carolina Gamecocks) seems like more people instagram pictures while there...especially since mostly young people are the instagrammers.  

So, I am not happy with the answer.  And, yes, I have taken pictures in Charleston of the beauty of the Battery, and the homes, etc.  I have taken a picture of the Ravenal Bridge.  And, I have taken pictures while I have been at a football game at William Brice Stadium. 

FYI:  I am on Instagram if you'd like to follow me.  

7.  What's something you learned about yourself this year that you're grateful for?  

I have learned I can do a lot of the planning, and running around, and co-ordinating a wedding AND have it turn out beautifully!  My daughter got married in April and because she lives in another state, I did much of the "leg work."  I hired a wedding consultant at the end to take care of things the week of the wedding... and especially the day of it.  I wanted to be the Mother of the Bride on that day!   But, I am grateful that everything came together so beautifully and that it was such a gorgeous day for the couple and for everyone who attended.

8.  My random thought.  

The news lately has been all over the video of the student in a Columbia, South Carolina school getting violently pulled out of her desk.  After hearing my daughter talk about some of her situations teaching in an urban high school last year, I certainly feel that we need to hold our students more accountable for bad behavior.  Consequences!   This student had been asked/then told numerous times to co-operate and she did not.  

I think the education system (administrators, teachers, support staff)  has to be allowed to toughen up the classroom situations without fear of dismissal. And, parents - oh parents!  Stop just siding with your kids!  If Susie Student got in trouble I can guarantee she was not completely innocent! 

My daughter left teaching because the students in her freshmen and sophomore classes were so out of hand that she could not teach them, after working hours on lesson plans.  She became so stressed out - scared for her own safety, and fearing a nervous breakdown.  She left the profession.   I was certainly in agreement with that since she's my daughter and I want the best for her.  But, the education world lost a wonderful, excited new teacher - because students were unruly, unmannered, disrespectful, and mouthy. 

I think it's a sad state of affairs in many schools in America.